Why Doing Your Make-Up On The Train Is Dangerous

We’ve all done it. But a new report claims that doing your make-up on-the-move could be actually be really dangerous…

According to Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, applying your slap on the Tube/bus/in the back of a cab means you’re at risk of cross-contamination, as well as of poking yourself in the eye. Eek!

We get the eye-poking (but to be fair, we do that when we’re at home too), but the news that we’re opening ourselves up to infections due to ‘poor hygiene’ on public transport is quite scary. So avoid those pesky poles at all costs and make sure to pump out some hand sanitzier before touching your face.



On top of this, it turns out our make-up bag could also be making us really, really ill. Ick.

BuzzFeed Life have spoken to germ expert Dr. Kelly Reynolds and New York-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe to find out *exactly* what health issues our make-up could create. And it’s pretty scary.

Want to avoid these problems? Check out our guide on how to clean your make-up brushes. Trust us, you’ll want to…

1) Make-up harbours bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can lead to serious infections and illness





Because make-up is often waxy and moist, it’s the perfect environment for germs. Not only can these cause serious infections and illness, but they can also worsen acne and other skin problems.

‘These different kinds of germs often live all over your make-up and brushes,’ says Dr. Kelly.

2) Brushes can be dangerous


‘Frequently used make-up brushes act as breeding grounds for germs,’ says Dr. Whitney. ‘They’re run over an oily face many times, which spreads bacteria around.’

Old brushes may also contain dried-up product on the bristles, which can cause the brush to be abrasive and cause skin irritation or redness.



3) Every time you touch your make-up, you’re transferring germs that will then go into your mouth, eyes, and any open skin



It’s unlikely that the average person diligently washes and sanitises their hands before and between using products. Therefore, ‘our hands are covered in these organisms.’

Because you touch your make-up so often and everyone has bacteria on their skin, Dr. Whitney says it’s extremely difficult to tell which products are contaminated and which are safe. Eek.

4) Powder can become contaminated after just one use


‘Absorbent or loose powders are especially difficult,’ says. Dr Kelly. ‘One use with a dirty brush can contaminate the whole jar with germs.’

‘If you need to share it, have a skin infection, or chronic acne – allocate some of the loose powder into a separate dish or plastic cup, which you can easily clean, and use it from there instead.’




5) All the germs and dirt on your brushes and sponges can spell disaster for your face

Do you leave your beauty products out on your counter? It’s easy to forget about contaminants in the air, such as dust and even particles from the cleaning products you use on your mirror.

‘Fungal spores are everywhere,’ says Dr. Kelly. As they need a moist place to live, they’re especially prevalent in the bathroom. Moral of the tale: always make sure your lipstick lid is on properly.

Luckily for us, most water-based products come with preservatives that help kill bacteria and spores. However, these can only do so much.

6) Sharing make-up is just a very, very bad idea

‘I tell patients to never share anything that comes into direct contact with another person’s skin or mucus membranes,’ says Dr. Whitney.

Dr. Kelly adds: ‘People don’t realise that staph bacteria are super common.

‘Someone can carry the bacteria on their body with no adverse affect and spread it to make-up, then the next person who uses it can get a bad staph infection under the right conditions.’




7) Especially lipstick

Because there’s a huge network of blood vessels under your lips, they easily absorb anything you put on your mouth – including germs.

‘Bacteria can transfer through the membranes of your mouth into your bloodstream,’ says Dr. Whitney.

‘The contagious herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores, can be spread between two people sharing lipstick, even if the infected person has no visible sores.’

8) And *definitely* mascara (eyes are most susceptible to infections)

Brace yourselves. Potential issues include pinkeye and styes and eyelash MITES can stick to mascara wands. Um.

It’s worse if you have contacts, with Dr. Kelly explaining: ‘It’s much easier for germs to infect your eye because they get trapped beneath the lens.’




9) Avoid tester counters at all costs

‘Studies have found bacteria such as staph, strep, and E. coli can be spread when people don’t wash their hands after using the restroom and then touch make-up store surfaces and testers,’ says Dr. Whitney.

‘So many people are coming in and out and it’s impossible to know what they’ve done before you.’



Be aware of your products’ expiration dates

You should replace most make-up every six months and eye make-up even more often.

‘Most people keep their makeup long past the expiration date,’ says Dr. Kelly. ‘The number of germs increases over time and they continue to go on your skin each time you apply.’

‘Replacing your eye makeup every three to six months may seem too frequent or difficult, but consider your health and hygiene first.’